By Glen Schunk, Director of Operations, Martha Clara Vineyards
A year ago, our company switched point-of-sale systems to Counterpoint with the help of the staff at our local Value-Added-Reseller (VAR) specialist - POS Highway. Admittedly, we were nervous. Who wouldn’t be when switching over POS systems? There’s a lot to learn and prepare for. As a vineyard, winery, and tasting room, we were looking for a POS that could:
* handle e-commerce
* have little to no learning curve for our staff
* open up doors of possibilities that were not possible with our last POS.
* easily import our existing customer data
* support a wine club for our membership
Our biggest worry about moving to a new POS was transferring data. We had over 14,000 customer records, 1000 items, and each item had inventories. The idea of having to manually enter even part of this had us apprehensive of change. We found that exporting data from our old POS into an Excel file and then batching it into our new software was a fairly simple process and that was true for importing customer data from a loyalty program as well. With a brief tutorial from our POS Highway rep we easily moved over our tasting room’s customer records and items from our old database. Later, we imported wholesale customers, loyalty program data, and purchasers.
Wine Club Management Software
I would venture to say that almost all vineyards and wineries in need of a POS have a wine club. This was a major concern of ours when we were looking for a POS. For years, we used a third party loyalty program to run our wine club. The third party system ran as a plug-in through our old POS. If you have used a program like this, you know it comes with compatibility issues, manual inventory adjustments, customer record sync issues, extra fees, etc… We set out to find a POS that had a wine club program build in, but could still handle all the other facets of our business.
POS Highway has developed a wine club program that runs right through Counterpoint. Revenue and inventories are adjusted when the wine is shipped or picked up, simplifying the whole process. The back-end nuts and bolts are simple and intuitive, and on the front end of things, cashiers have no problem releasing a paid order for pickup or shipping. Cashiers can update a customer’s card on file in under 10 seconds by swiping the card as well. On top of all this, we don’t pay our fees to the third party site anymore.
Using Counterpoint Mobile for off-site events and markets is easy and effective. The staff at the event has full access to the items, customers, and pricing at the event. Sales are tendered to a drawer that can be reconciled from the main site at the end of the day. The program is simple to use and works great for an on-the-go style of sales. Best of all, it can utilize anyone’s Iphone or Ipad with the app.
Automatic discounting has reduced our transaction time at the registers by 15 percent and allows us to set logic through a promotion system that has been very helpful for us. We can set which customers, and at what volumes certain items get discounted automatically. Our wine club members get 15% off wine, 100% off tastings, and 20% off events, etc... This was a lot for our staff to remember, and even more for them to manually enter into our old POS. Now we are able to set levels of discounts on the back-end so that our cashiers rarely ever have to override a price. On top of this, the potential for user error is almost non-existent since the system takes care of discounting.
We store wine at three different bonded facilities. The federal government and New York State in particular are sticklers about what alcohol you have where. When removed from bond, tax must be paid. We are now able to manage inventories at three different locations easily and eliminate our old inventory management software. Now we can run a month to month inventory all from the POS and fill out our tax forms in a quarter of the time.
For wholesale customers, Counterpoint has really simplified the process for invoicing and billing. Certain customers can be set up with a house account, limits can be set, and the promotion system can be used for different volume discounts. For most customers, we scan 4-6 barcodes off a sheet, enter the quantity, process the order, and send an invoice. We halved the time it took to write up and invoice an order. For reporting purposes, we can send weekly and monthly wholesale registers right from the Reports tab so that we can track the rate at which each wine is selling.
Always up-to-date technology
Our last POS system was static. It was great… for a while. It’s no mystery that technology is rapidly progressing, and we found our old POS system got lost in the dust. Today we have Windows 10, EMV card readers, Bluetooth printers, e-receipts. None of these even crossed our minds in 2009, but are just a part of normal business now.
Targeted Marketing and Segmentation
In our wine business, we find that many of our repeat customers know what they like. Certain wines even have a strong following of people. However, with any business that is weather dependent, we don’t always have the pleasure of producing a large quantity of each variety of wine each year. Often times we will sell out of a wine before the next vintage is released.
With Counterpoint, we can run a customer report of people that purchased 12 or more bottles of a specific wine in the last year and then email those customers specifically about a new release. We host events as well, and have used this feature for offering discounts to upcoming events for those who have attended past events. We also use this feature to let our top purchasing customers know we recognize them. Any POS can run these reports with a little tweaking, but Counterpoint has really simplified the process and allows for many different options to filter criteria.
We sell our wine on our website as well as in our store. Website maintenance of items can be tedious at times when vintages change and as quantities get low. Counterpoint’s e-commerce feature, NRO, allows us to adjust what is in the web store right from the POS.
We found the transition process to be smoother than we ever could have expected, and that is in part thanks to the intuitiveness of Counterpoint, but mainly due to the excellent preparation, training, and support from the staff at POS Highway. POS Highway and Counterpoint have exceeded our expectations in all regards, and we couldn’t be happier with the decision we made.
-Glen Schunk, Director of Operations
Martha Clara Vineyards
Long Island, New York
About POS Highway
POS Highway has nearly 30 years of experience with clients form coast to coast as well as internationally. They offer custom tailored solutions solutions for every client, and 24/7 support services with trained technicians from the east coast to Hawaii. Click here to request a demonstration.
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